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Kimihiro Abe :: Biography

Overview Biography Discography Game Projects Interviews

Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris. The act of using it without advance written permission is regarded as a copyright infringement. It was last updated on August 27, 2008.

Born in 1975 in Kamogawa, Kimihiro Abe is a composer of Hitoshi Sakimoto's music production company Basiscape. At high school, he learned to play the piano, begun to compose music, and witnessed the boom of video games due to the impact of games like Street Fighter II on his rural area. After initially persuing a non-musical career, he joined the Tokyo College of Music in 1999 with the intention of becoming a video game composer. Majoring in contemporary music composition under Akira Nishimura and Kazuaki Ogikubo, he developed a unique sense of musicality and gained experience with audio technology. In 2005, he became the fifth person to join Basiscape following Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata, Manabu Namiki, and Mitsuhiro Kaneda. His employment represented the beginning of the company's transition from being a small promoter of several independent artists to becoming the most productive independent game music production company. During his time at the company, Abe has worked on numerous projects in a variety of collaborative roles. He has quickly gained a reputation for being hard-working and meticulous despite his eccentric character.

Abe debuted with contributions to the Game Boy Advance titles Battle B-Daman and Battle B-Daman: Fire Spirits with most of his colleagues. He subsequently contributed a remix of E. Honda's theme for the Hyper Street Fighter II Remix Tracks. Here, he implemented oriental instruments, complex percussion polyrhythms, voice samples, and sound effects to produce an abstract festival-inspired remix. Three other early game projects were the fighters Zoids: Full Metal Crash, BLEACH Heat the Soul 2, and Battle Stadium D.O.N., where he assisted others to create hard rock scores. In 2006, he asserted individuality once again with rhythmically focused electronic remixes for the Mushihimesama Perfect Soundtrack and the Pink Sweets Ibara Original Soundtrack. For Manabu Namiki's new score to the PlayStation 2's Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 28 Tetris Collection, Abe remixed the famous Russian folk tunes "Kalinka" and "Korobeiniki" using chip tunes and complex polyrhythms respectively. He subsequently helped to powerfully remaster the Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack after it was massively downgraded for the game itself. He also arranged a selection of pieces from the game for the Final Fantasy Official Best Album Piano Sheet Music.

In 2007, Abe has worked on numerous high-profile projects. Alongside Namiki, he created the bouncy second stage theme and an emotional piano and strings ending theme for Cave's Mushihimesama Futari. For Vanillaware, he contributed distinctive storyline and battle themes for the magic strategy game Grim Grimoire. For the same developer, he later created eight accomplished themes for the colourful action RPG Odin Sphere; he made an especially profound impact with the battle themes for the latter, displaying influence from American modernist composers by incorporating irregular time signatures, aggressive brass, and driving snare drums. Later in the year, he helped to arrange a selection of Final Fantasy XII's pieces for Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings so that they had sufficiently few parts to be readily implemented on the DS and created some faithful snare-driven arrangements for Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift to subtly increase the diversity of the score. Abe has also contributed an intimate string arrangement for the anime Romeo X Juliet and arranged six of Yasunori Mitsuda and Hitoshi Sakimoto's compositions for piano quintet. The rich performances of these intricate arrangements were well-received on the accompanying Destiny - Dreamer's Alliance CD.

Now a confidently established Basiscape employee, Kimihiro Abe has recently completed several projects. On the DS' children's book adaptation Deltora Quest: The Seven Jewels, he produced a mixture of whimsical percussive pieces and compelling marches. For the Wii's Opoona, he blended orchestral and synthetic sounds in a series of warm and subtle compositions and arrangements. He further demonstrated his flexibility by assisting with Elminage, creating rich and resolute Celtic pieces, and Coded Soul, offering an atmospheric science-fiction work blending a variety of genres. In smaller works, he oversaw a Mobile Phone port for After Burner II, remixed Darius II's "Muse Valley" after being inspired by its resemblance to his own works, and possibly handled the vocal arrangements on Tori no Hoshi. He has also recently arranged for Eminence Symphony Orchestra again with Valkyria Chronicles and The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk. His latest game works were the visual novel game L no Kisetsu 2: Invisible Memories and the zoo-raising simulation Kumatanchi, where he presented light sentimental twists on his characteristic musicality. Abe will continue to be integral in maintaining Basiscape's productivity and versatility throughout 2008.